Highlights from the New York International Auto Show 2015

Rock bottom gas prices have given SUV, crossover and pickup sales an incredible boost, and automakers are seizing the moment to roll out their top-of-the-line models, but it’s definitely not all about luxury.  This week is the New York International Auto Show, where all the newest models from all segments are being unveiled.

The new flagship Cadillac CT6 sedan will debut in Brooklyn this week on Tuesday, but Ford will beat GM by three days, unveiling its new luxury Lincoln Continental sedan in midtown Manhattan. The two models are generating the most buzz but are just a drop in the bucket when it comes to sales. Many cheaper mainstream cars that will make up the majority of overall auto sales will be revealed this week as well.

Among the new reveals are the Nissan Maxima, Chevrolet Malibu, Focus RS, Kia Optima, Jaguar XF, Chevrolet Spark, and Scion iM hatchback and 1A sedan. This show mainly features cars, especially those expected to do well in China and other international markets, although quite a few new SUVs will be unveiled.

Jeff Schuster, senior VP of forecasting at LMC Automotive, said, “Obviously, New York has a luxury feel to it. As we move around the show and look at some of the big introductions with Mercedes-Benz with the GLE, the RX for Lexus, I think that’s an important one to watch, since that really defined that segment.” He went on to say that the Continental and Cadillac CT6 add up to “an interesting duel.”

New York is the largest luxury car market, being home to Wall Street and many top-of-the-line consumers. There will be plenty to attract those interested, such as the new Hyundai Tucson, Infinity QX50, Lexus RX, RAV4 hybrid and Mercedes Benz GLE.

Even so, automakers are focusing on fuel economy, anticipating a rise in fuel prices sometime in the future. Ford will be offering a V-6 version of the Lincoln Continental rather than a V-8, which would have been unimaginable in years past. Most of the new luxury models are faster and lighter than their predecessors.

Karl Brauer, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book, commented, “This year’s New York show featured an array of world debuts from mainstream and luxury brands, but it was interesting to note the relative lack of SUV and crossover debuts compared to the high number of all-new sedans, coupes and hatchbacks. There was also little to report from the world of alternative or ‘green’ transportation, which seems to have been replaced by automakers touting advanced technology in the form of connected cars and autonomous driving features.”

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